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Will a Furnace Work without a Filter?

filter-change-ductsMost people associate a filter with one important thing: air quality. Filters keep dust from blowing around the home. More importantly to many people, it picks up allergens like pollen and pet dander, and may even stop the circulation of some germs that could make you ill.

However, not everyone suffers from allergies, asthma, or other conditions that would require excellent indoor air quality. If you’re one of the lucky few who doesn’t suffer from allergies, you might not worry too much about the filter. In fact, many such people—especially those who don’t want to deal with regular filter changes—have asked us this question: “Can’t I just run the furnace without a filter?”

Why you should avoid running the furnace with a dirty filter

As air is sucked into the furnace via the blower fan, it first goes through the filter, which traps dirt, dust, debris, and many allergens. In time, it can become clogged by a layer of dust, preventing air from flowing into the system. This can cause a number of issues:

  • Low temperatures and poor airflow
  • High bills
  • An overworked and worn-down fan
  • An overheated furnace

From this, it may seem as though you could simply remove a filter when it gets too dirty and wait a while before spending the money to replace it. That’s what leads some people to wonder whether they could take out the filter altogether.

The true function of the filter may not be what you think

You might assume that the filter is primarily in place for your health, but this is a common misconception. The original conception of the filter was designed to keep debris from damaging the furnace itself. Incoming damage and debris could pummel the system and permanently damage components, or get lodged in the fan and jam the motor.

This lack of information is what causes some people to believe that they can run a furnace without a filter, but this will do more harm than good.

Two reasons to never run the furnace without a filter

In summary, there are two extremely important reasons you cannot or should not run the heater (or air conditioner) without the filter in place.

  1. The well-being of your furnace: With no filter in place, your furnace could break down suddenly simply because of some debris lodged in the blower! Otherwise, the slow accumulation of wear-and-tear may lead to its early demise.
  2. Your health: Okay, so you’re not concerned about your air quality right But allergies can develop, and there are many contaminants in a home like cleaners and germs that simply are not safe to breathe in. Do it for yourself!

Change the filter every 1-3 months!

Our expert recommendation is to change the filter every 1-3 months. You can stock up on filters from your local hardware store or from some technicians—but don’t wait for service before making that change. If you want to avoid going to the store to buy a new filter every month, a reusable filter may be your best bet. Just make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and replacing!

Schedule furnace repair in Plainfield, IL with Johansen & Anderson Inc. We offer 24-hour service!

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